A poll published last month indicated that over 50% of those instructing solicitors do not check the solicitors record or accreditation in the area of law in which they are looking for advice.
On the face of it, comparison sites would therefore be helpful to assist the public in finding the right solicitor, especially as there are now a number of accreditation schemes run by the Law Society. One recent welcome addition to this accreditation or Quality Assurance is the Conveyancing Quality Scheme. For some 20 years now, conveyancing charges have been falling to a point where, bearing in mind the work involved, it is virtually impossible to do the work properly and make any money with charges at £300.00 plus vat or even less, so something had to give and we would always recommend checking whether a conveyancer is a member of the CQS scheme.
Consequently, corners get cut and this creates long term problems. Cheap costs dear as with most things in life. This new standard is significant in that the public unfortunately will often go for the cheapest option notwithstanding warnings about the dangers. The CQS scheme almost certainly means that solicitors and licensed conveyancers who don’t attain this standard, which is regularly reviewed, will not be allowed to act for lenders.
There are many solicitor comparison sites now springing up, as with such sites for almost everything. It can be very dangerous, as suggested above, to view buying legal services in the same way as buying insurance, price is not everything. Unfortunately, the first wave of these sites still seem to be intent on comparing largely on price, and those (we won’t name them here) that claim they vet solicitors objectively, are also paid by those solicitors for membership of their panel, so perhaps results should be treated with circumspect.